Before the Debt Hits the Fan

I just want to take an informal survey of my peers.  Answer the following questions yes or no and we'll go from there.

  • Do you believe that you will be a recipient of the Social Security funds that you have paid into the system?
  • Do you believe that the government will in any way give you financial support in your old age?
  • Do you believe that you will have subsidized medical care in old age in the form of Medicare?
  • Do you believe that you will be able to retire at the age of 65?
  • Do you believe that the current social models of retirement homes, assisted living facilities and extended-care medical institutions will be available to you in your late years?
  • Do you believe that you will have to depend upon your family or faith congregation to meet your old age needs?
  • Do you believe you will have the means to live independently in your old age?
  • Do you believe that the current debt crisis and addiction to spending on the part of the federal government will turn upside down the entitlement programs that have been available to elderly Americans since FDR? 

This is not a test.  And I don't really care how you answered these questions.  But I hope that I have caused you to reflect upon the future for Americans just now entering their 50s and 60s.

I am a late Boomer, born in 1961.  I have had the gut feeling (knowledge) since about 1989 that I would not be a part of the Social Security generation.  I frankly don't believe the projections that Medicare will become insolvent in 2024 and Social Security in 2036.  I think it is around the corner.  There will be an upheaval in the immediate future, whether gradual or sudden, that will completely alter the lives and expectations of the American aging class.

I put a post on Twitter yesterday that said "Are you ready to be part of the generation who disengages from government dependence?"  The next tweets followed: "Are you ready to become the generation who will be self-reliant in old age? Are you prepared to work as long as you can? Are you prepared to find support in old age the old fashioned way, through family and church?"

This to some is horrifying. No safety net? No government to care for those who have no church or willing family to help them as they age and contend with illness and impending death?

This is the reality check of the century and our thinking and approach to life as elderly people will require a drastic reset if we are to survive past this point.  

The victories of Socialism via Obama, and decades of a burgeoning government and the dependence of individuals thereon, are made downright tragic by the effect of the assault on families and churches that have left so many of the Boomer generation alone, and faithless.  In the 1960s couples started to shrink their families and chose to bear few or no children. Children are traditionally the most reliable form of security to aging parents.  Many have chosen not to marry and as families of origin die out, they are left alone.  Churches and strong congregations remain, but many individuals have abandoned the faiths of their childhood and lack the essential ties to a church family that are often a compassionate and effective source of support for the elderly and lonely.

Our children have a little time to adjust to a life style of total self-reliance.  As far as they're concerned, the sooner the reset occurs, the better. But for the Boomers and those entering their 40s, we are in for some pain.  

My plan is simply to:

  • Stay healthy and be in charge of my own wellness
  • Keep working indefinitely or until illness or accident takes away my ability to do so
  • Always have a little savings in the bank
  • Have home storage which includes food and other essentials sufficient for at least 6 months
  • Live each day with the understanding that I will have to take care of my own needs now and throughout my old age and when I am unable to care for myself I will have to lean on my children and on my church

What is your plan?

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